Carter B. Horsley
orange-brown-brick tower is one of the city's great Art-Deco skyscrapers,
albeit relatively modest in height, and it is also notable for
having a rooftop public cocktail lounge with views in all directions
and some open terraces.
designed by John Mead Howell as the Panhellic Tower in 1928, a
23-story structure with 380 bedrooms.
superb book, "New York 1930, Architecture and Urbanism Between
The Two World Wars," (Rizzoli International Publications,
Inc., 1987), Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin and Thomas
Mellins noted that "its brilliant design made it, like the
Shelton [see The City Review article], an instant
tower seemed to rise in one unbroken leap from a three-story base
containing restaurants and lounges...to become one of the city's
most spectacular images of unbridled vertical force....The Panhellic
Tower was intended to function as an apartment hotel and clubhouse
for women college graduates. The sleek simplicity of the massing,
with windows recessed between unbroken piers to make it seem from
most angles more a solid mass than a hollow container, distinguished
Howell's design as the next dramatic step toward astylar skyscraper
composition, a step that not only marked an advance over the Shelton
but also over Howells & Hood's Chicago Tribune Tower and Hood's
American Radiator Building. While the individual rooms were decorated
in a rather dull, early American manner, the snappily decorated
public rooms were notable. In the lounge at the top of the tower,
dark tones and sinuous patterns on the walls helped obscure the
awwardness of the room's shape, while pendant light fixtures,
waving fronds of metal foliage applied around the metal elevator
door, tall lancet windows, and French-influenced furniture gave
the room a welcome note of romantic mystery."
referred to Greek letter societies and/or sororities.
the property became the Beekman Tower Hotel, the terraces of the
rooftop lounge was partially enclosed in skylights. The skylights
altered the purity of the original design, but not too seriously
as they do not detract from the building's great verticality.
The room is much smaller and more intimate than the famous Rainbow
Room at 30 Rockefeller Center (see The City Review article), but
much more pleasant and with very, very good views, a rarity for